Pendennis at War

It’s two o’clock in the morning.

‘HANNAH, GO TO SLEEP’, whispers my internal monologue, as delicately and politely and the capital letters suggest. 

‘It’s no good!’ I respond, ‘I can’t sleep!’

In 90 minutes I have to wake up. 

In two hours, Doug will be outside my house, waiting patiently while I look for something crucial I have forgotten, only to realise ten minutes later that it was the first thing I packed yesterday. 

In two hours and fifteen minutes, Doug and I will be waiting patiently outside Anna’s house, who will appear calm and collected and wearing an excellent cardigan. 

In just four and a half hours, we will be meeting Louisa (who is ready for the beach at 6:30am in a very stylish sundress) and Steve at Exeter Services for coffee coffee coffee and breakfast. 

By 9am, we will have ‘reached our destination’. 

And what an absolute peach of a destination .

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The Spitfire Sisters (along with honorary Spitfire Brothers) had been booked to play for three days at Pendennis Castle, as part of their Pendennis at War Festival. If you’ve never been to Pendennis Castle, put it on your wish list - it’s absolutely beautiful, with stunning sea views and an excellent cannon display. 

For the three days, we had the ridiculously talented Steve on piano, Doug grooving away on Double Bass, and Louisa, Anna and myself on vocals and drums, rocking away. Louisa chose a 20” Sabian XS ride and a Tama Superstar snare, which she hit with glee using her favourite Vic Firth wire brushes. In fact, I can’t remember Louisa putting the brushes down all week, that’s how much she loves them. Anna used our brand new Meinl Bassbox acquired from Thomman, keeping both the band and the dancers in time. I played 14” Sabian XS hats with as much gusto as a foot in a high heel can. All of our drum kit (with the exception of the bassbox and brushes) were ‘borrowed’ from Doug’s kit - thank you sir! 

It was fantastic to be able to perform for such a great crowd; we were even lucky enough to have Swing Out West dance along to our set. Doug and Steve occasionally switched around, with Steve taking over Doug’s Double Bass and Doug conjuring up his guitar as if from nowhere. It was brilliant to add a different dynamic and recreate some songs we have been playing for a while. We like to keep everyone - including ourselves! - on their toes. 

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In between sets, we were able to explore the castle and grounds; it was fantastic to see all the other activities that English Heritage were running for Pendennis at War. Aside from a few (!) trips to the English Heritage shop, we were also able to take part in Lindy Hop lessons run by Swing Out West, which were brilliant. I’m sure it will not be a surprise to hear when the ‘Shim Sham’ was declared we needed no persuading to get involved! 

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While we were staying in Falmouth, we were able to visit Muddy Beach, an amazing bar and restaurant which is run by an old friend of ours, Christian Dann. The food was unbelievable - we happened to visit on their first night serving their brand new tapas menu, and we did not hold back. Doug uttered the sacred phrase in hushed tones, ‘We would like to order one of everything, please’. A cursory glance around the table assured Ella, our amazing hostess for the evening, that Doug was right - we REALLY did want to order everything on the menu - and she kindly provided, bringing dish after dish of beautiful and fresh food. 

Our highlights included crab fritters with homemade chilli sauce, crispy egg and haloumi soldiers, fish goujons, potted crab on toast and quite honestly the best chips I have ever eaten. All of this, accompanied by two Espresso Martinis and three Turbo Collins (gin, elderflower and prosecco - almost too good) while sitting outside on Jubilee Wharf...glorious.  

Of course, no trip to Cornwall would be complete without a lunchtime Pasty, which was enjoyed outside with an amazing sea view. We also indulged in a cooked breakfast every day courtesy of our wonderful B&B, The Oasis Guesthouse, which we would thoroughly recommend to anyone looking for somewhere to stay in Falmouth. All of this delicious food, plus a rather large bottle of Lanson, meant that we were extremely well fed and watered for our three days away. Although, some were more watered than others...if you haven’t already seen it, have a look at Louisa opening the bottle of Lanson below. 

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We are so incredibly lucky to be able to visit places such as Pendennis Castle as a band. We had such an amazing time and hope to be back next year for Pendennis at War 2017. Here’s to many more Spitfire adventures!

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P.S. - As the curator of our car’s music, I thought I would put together a brief excerpt from our epic playlist for the journey there (if I do say so myself).

Sweet Life - Frank Ocean

Work It Out - Beyoncé

Good Luck - Basement Jaxx

Jenny From The Block - J. Lo

Crazy - Seal

Destiny - Zero 7

Wonderboy - Tenacious D

Signed, Sealed Delivered - Stevie Wonder

Fans - Kings of Leon

It Don’t Have To Change - John Legend

Never Ever - All Saints

Pass The Peas - Maceo Parker

Sussudio - The Phil Collins Big Band

Africa - Toto